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UK-Pakistan Protocol

Has your child been taken to or kept in Pakistan without your permission?

Below are the basics of what has been agreed between the UK and Pakistan.  If you need advice, we can help you.  Just contact my clerks for assistance.

The Honourable Baroness Butler-Sloss, GBE (a Senior Family Judge) has previously said:

“We live in a world which some term a global village. Couples from one country may move to another and settle there. Young people meet and marry those from another country. Children are born with dual or even treble nationality. If the parents part, there is often the problem of which country the children should live in. If the parents part acrimoniously, the problems I mentioned earlier are made worse by issues of nationality or residence. In some cases, a parent acts unilaterally and removes the child from the company of the other parent, from his/her home, school and friends without the consent of the other parent. He/she abducts the child, usually to the home country of the abductor.”

“Many countries treat child abduction as a criminal offence. We do so in the UK although there are not many prosecutions because family disputes are usually better dealt with in the family court. Family courts round the world have to deal with the consequences of the unlawful movement of children across jurisdictions.”

In 2003 Senior Judges from Pakistan and the UK agreed, and then signed, the UK Pakistan Protocol on Children Matters.

It is an agreement which aims to secure the return of an abducted child to the country where they normally live, without regard to the nationality, culture or religion of the parents.

The child’s ‘welfare’ is a priority and the courts of the country where the child normally lives are usually in the best position to decide on matters of custody and where a child should live.

Judges should consider any existing court orders made by the courts in the child’s ‘home’ country. The judge may then order the child to be returned to the country where they normally live.

If your child is taken to Pakistan, or does not return from a holiday there, and you have an existing residence order, or a prohibited steps order against the person who has taken your child, you might be able to use the Protocol to help return your child to the UK.

Special judges (‘Liaison Judges’) have been appointed in the UK and Pakistan to deal with alleged child abduction between the two countries. They communicate with each other on individual cases to provide each other with information as to the orders in place (if any) in each country.

You can contact the Family Division of the Royal Courts of Justice to find out who the liaison judges are in each country.

Office of the Head of International Family Justice
Room C101
Royal Courts of Justice

Lawyer: Tel: 0207 947 7906 Fax: 0207 947 6804
Administrator: Tel: 0207 947 7225 Fax: 0207 947 7875

You can also use the Protocol when you are seeking permission to take a child temporarily to Pakistan for a holiday.

The Protocol has not been made law in Pakistan so their Judges are only able to bear the Protocol in mind.  They are not legally bound by its provisions. The Protocol has not been made law in the UK either, but the Courts do take note of it.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is can also assist, their address and telephone number are:

Consular Directorate
King Charles Street
Tel: 020 7008 1500

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